Episode Review – Devil May Care

No contest, our quote of the night came from (of course) Crowley:

“Really putting the s-a-m into S and M.”

The Bingo was also a bit harder as I had a lot more spaces left unmarked.

So…

You ever get that feeling that the show runners are actually listening to you?

Several times – particularly during seasons 5 & 7 – I expressed dismay that the show makers were passing up easy opportunities to reinforce the seasons’ arcs. Little things like… A witch refusing to play cards with Sam because Lucifer has a claim (or the game seen as a possible solution). Or when you run into a hunter and his daughter just saying “Dude you better stock up on Borax.” Lo and behold what did we see last night but that very thing – although it was ultimately in service to the plot so we’ll see if there is any improvement in the long run.

Though another positive sign was the tattered look of Ezekiel’s wings. Always remember: It’s the little touches that make fictional worlds real to the audience.

Yet the show still seems a bit schizophrenic on how it wants to handle the angel situation.  They don’t seem to go out of their way to harm people like demons, ghosts and monsters.  In fact they have a tendency to heal their hosts and keep them alive.  Which makes the only way to eliminate them a bit of a problem as it’s currently always fatal to the host.  Given that they only want to hurt the brothers and Castiel, if those three just lie low, what will other hunters have to worry about?  The show wants us to think the angels falling mean “nothing good” but it’s also spent 4 years pointing out to us that them flying around wasn’t always good either.  Remember the slaughtered diner?

On the other hand this episode did give us one possible reason for wanting the angels to be rehalo’d: Abaddon’s return (nice to see her back in her prior body as I always endorse more redheads on the show).  So what was up with that ritual?  So far in the show we’ve established some factors about Hell’s residents.  Some, like Hell Hounds and Daevas have bodies which can interact with our world (though limited somewhat) while the more traditional “smokey” demons need to borrow our bodies to interact much with the world (although a large enough number of them can flip cars and break iron).  However, way back in Devil’s Trap Bobby also hints that there are demons with their own bodies and that are different from those who just possess and we saw the acheri back in All Hell Breaks Loose 1.  So does Crowley have a favorite meat suit of his or does he have his own form like the acheri? (though the body suit is probably not his original if you believe those were his bones back in Weekend at Bobby’s)  I tend towards the latter especially since instant teleportation is not something we normally see from even the smokeys.  Thus, after the ritual in the bathtub, does Abaddon have her own form like the acheri, or was that a ritual to reconstruct her favorite meatsuit from the ashes it had been reduced to?  Actually I like that the show didn’t give us a definitive answer so we fans can debate the issue for fun (but I’m voting for original form also).  Still, Abaddon is back and apparently she’s less thrilled with Hell taking on a business model.  She wants it to get back to the old military model.  Which means that the Abaddon/Crowley conflict can be seen as a metaphor for the comic book fans interpretations of Lex Luthor.

Speaking of which, how in the world does the politics of Hell work?  Lucifer is nominally in charge, but since he’s locked up, it doesn’t look like anyone bothers listening to him much.  Except for old Azazel.  Was he the king of Hell or one of the knights?  Perhaps serving the reigning queen, Lilith (the oldest and thus, most powerful demon)?  I’m thinking Hell before a much less organized, anarchic place and the vacating of Azazel, Lilith, Alastair and Lucifer gave Crowley the opening he needed to set up a monarchy (him being “Crowley the First and Last”).  Still, how could the guy get that much power and make so many afraid of him?  My theory: With Lilith gone, there was a vacancy in holding the contracts.  Now as we all know, almost nobody likes doing paperwork, the demons would probably all prefer being out there making the sells.  So Crowley volunteers to do the “boring” part and everyone just shoves the souls they’re getting over to him so they can keep working.  Little do they realize that after awhile, he has enough souls to be the most powerful guy in Hell.  Rather like if a filing clerk in the military took over keeping up on the paperwork on atomic missiles, then moved things around until he ended up being the sole one in charge of all the atomic weapons in the USA – yeah he might find getting elected president easy.  In this metaphor, Abaddon is a high ranking general (or maybe a sub captain, meaning he has his own atomic weapons) who has been stationed on the other side of the world only coming back to his country to find out a paper-pusher has taken over.  At least that’s my theory.

Still Crowley’s not in charge of much today.  Kudos to the show team for doing something different to him in the torture department.  Although I was hoping for something even less traditional.  Like maybe locking him in the room with a loop of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic playing so he could learn all about how important friendship is (since that and other morals are probably things he’s long forgotten).  Still, just leaving him alone with his thoughts is deliciously ironic since boredom’s what he has inflicted upon Hell as seen in The Man Who Would be King.  The theological parables that could be drawn from this “cure” attempt are fascinating and I’m curious if any Calvinists have latched onto this as a metaphor for TULIP.

Ok, Alice is glaring at me to get on with it (so rantings on general hunting theory will have to wait till next time).  So there was more with Sazekiel…  You know, while I’ll admit that yes, conflict is the source of drama, I miss the old prank war conflicts and brotherly butting heads.  By now it’s almost tiring having them always fighting over who killed or doesn’t get to kill who and what’s been kept from who… I’m hoping this time will be similar to the first time Dean made a deal to keep Sam alive, and Sam will be understanding and accepting of it.  After all, we just had the whole “Dean makes an ally, Sam doesn’t approve” motif last season so please, PLEASE let’s do something different this time – or at least a retread not so recent.  (I’m voting for an “odd couple” season.  “Sam & Ezekiel are just 2 different people… can they get along in the same body?  Hilarity ensues!”)  Heck with Crowley and Castiel (henceforth known as C&C) alone we’ll have plenty of dramatic conflict without another brother tussle.

Structure wise this episode reminds me of the episode Good God, Ya’ll!  In fact I’m sure some other writers and I could have a fun drinking game with these two and not just over the superficial similarities. (tied to a chair interrogation anyone?)  That’s not a complaint though.  The general structure between S4->5 and S8->9 is one of “World-shattering event” season finale with “ok, not quite literal on that shattering bit, here’s the immediate aftermath” with these followup episodes going “here’s something somewhat ‘traditional’ for the show, yet you can see differences showing how the world is shifting after that event”.  And this is good for not losing the audience in the weeds of the narrative.  That’s something very much done right by the show runners.

Still, can’t quite give this episode the same high score the older episode earned:

Now let’s just keep Kevin alive and go save his Mom already…

(cross posted @ http://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/article-archives/episode-review/18112-nate-winchester-s-journal-supernatural-9-02-devil-may-care)

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